For Mom6:08 PM
I never got the chance to learn to cook from Mom before she became disabled. She was pretty bad ass in her day. Then again I was the child that would eat anything and did eat everything. While having lunch last week a familiar flavor in my meal whipped up memories of her and my youth. This week I made it my mission to try to make this peanut dumpling dessert, if anything, to honor her. I'm hoping when she visits Houston she'll approve of my attempt to recreate her recipe.
In my quest, the recipe I found online had the dumplings sitting in a warm bath of flower and ginger scented syrup instead of just sitting in hot water like Mom's. I didn't recognize one of the ingredients but the author provided the Chinese translation. Off I went across town to a specialty Asian store where I hoped they carried this item. I can't read it or speak Chinese but I can understand a decent amount of Cantonese. While I'm in this herbal store, shamelessly flashing this word that I don't know, the cashier speaks to a fellow employee in Cantonese. They don't carry it. "Do you know where I might be able to find it?" I ask him, he questions his co-worker and she responds to him in Cantonese "It's a ways from here." He turns back to me and says "No."
In these situations you improvise. So I threw in a lump of smashed ginger (a flavor I've only recently taken to), two jasmine tea buds that bloom in hot water, a lot of sugar and water. It was like brewing gold. With a spicy kick of ginger and the airy perfume of jasmine leaves I'm sure could drink this sugar-charged concoction daily. My dentist will love my repeat business.
The dumplings turned out just right in terms of flavor but completely sad in presentation. Will need more practice to make these little white balls of goodness look photo ready.